Oral cancer develops in the mouth or throat. It typically occurs in the tonsils, tongue, gums, and other parts of the mouth. It is important to quickly identify the symptoms of oral cancer, as early detection, diagnosis, and treatment can significantly increase the chances of survival. In this article we’ll talk about some of the symptoms of oral cancer…
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer
The signs and symptoms of oral cancer differ from person to person and can present very differently. Some of the most common oral cancer symptoms are mouth sores that do not go away, as well as pain in the oral cavity. Oral cancer may also appear as patches on the tonsils, gums, and lining of the mouth. These patches are either red or white in colour. The top 7 symptoms of oral cancer include:
- A swelling in the neck
- A lump in your cheek
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- A feeling that there is an obstruction in your throat
- Difficulty moving your tongue and jaw
- Weight loss
- Constant halitosis or bad breath
There are also several other ancillary symptoms that can indicate whether you have oral cancer. Some of these are hoarseness or change of voice; ear pain; unexplained bleeding in the mouth; a change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together; numbness or tenderness in your face, mouth, or neck, and persistent sores in your mouth, neck, and face that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks.
Causes of oral cancer
Oral cancer is caused when cells in your lips or in your mouth undergo mutations or changes in their DNA. These mutations tell the cells to keep growing and dividing when healthy cells would die. These abnormal cancer cells keep accumulating in the mouth and can form a tumor. After some time, these cells can spread to other parts of the mouth, other parts of the head and neck, and even to other parts of the body.
Oral cancer typically begins in the flat, thin cells that line your inner lips and mouth. These cells are called squamous cells. This is why most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. While it is not clear what causes these cells to mutate, and what are the main oral cancer causes, doctors have identified the main risk factors for oral cancer.
Risk factors for oral cancer
There are certain risk factors that can make you more prone to developing oral cancer. Some of these are:
Prevention of oral cancer
While there is no proven way to prevent oral cancer, you can reduce your risk if you practice the following:
1.Stop using tobacco or do not start: If you use tobacco regularly, you should stop completely. This is because tobacco use, whether smoked or chewed, exposes the cells in your mouth to harmful and dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
2.Drink alcohol only in moderation or abstain completely: Chronic use of excessive alcohol can irritate the cells in your mouth. This makes them vulnerable to oral cancer. If you do continue to use alcohol, do so only in moderation. For women, this means one drink a day for all ages. For men older than 65, this means one drink a day and for men aged 65 and younger, up to two drinks a day.
3. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun especially around the lips: You should protect the skin on your lips by staying out of the sun as much as possible. If you are out in the sun, you should wear a broad-brimmed hat that protects your face and mouth. You should also apply an effective sunscreen lip product as part of your skin care regimen.
4.See your dentist regularly: You should consult your dentist every six months. During your routine exam, you should ask your dentist to examine your entire mouth for precancerous and cancerous lesions.
Stages of oral cancer
Oral cancer has several stages. These oral cancer stages are:
• Stage 0 Oral Cancer: This is also called carcinoma in situ and is the very initial stage of oral cancer. It describes abnormal cells in the lining of the lips and mouth that have the potential to become cancerous.
• Stage I Oral Cancer: This is a very early stage of cancer. The tumor is not more than 2 centimeters and the lymph nodes have not been involved.
• Stage II Oral Cancer: This stage describes a tumor that is larger than 2 centimeters but less than 4 centimeters. In this stage, the cancer has not reached the lymph nodes.
• Stage III Oral Cancer: This describes a cancer that is either larger than 4 centimeters. It also describes a cancer that has spread to a lymph node in the neck.
•Stage IV Oral Cancer: This is the most advanced stage of oral cancer. It may be of any size but has typically spread to the jaw or other parts of the oral cavity. It has also spread to one lymph node, which is more than 3 centimeters in size on the same side of the neck as the tumor. It can also spread to multiple lymph nodes of any size on the same side of the neck as the tumor. It can also have spread to one lymph node of any size on the side of the neck opposite the tumor. During this stage, the oral cancer may also have spread to distant parts of the body beyond the mouth, such as the lungs.
The earlier the detection of the oral cancer, the greater the oral cancer survival rate. This is why it is imperative that you consult with your dentist as regularly as possible. You should visit your dentist once in six months for a regular cleaning and check-up. During this time, your dentist will examine your lips and mouth in great detail to rule out the initial stages of oral cancer.
Choosing the right dentist for a regular exam and treatment is imperative. This is why it is important that you consult with Harbour Pointe Oral Maxillofacial & Advanced Implant Surgery. At Harbour Pointe, we treat our patients with the utmost care. We will never rush you during your exam and will carry out the examination in great detail to rule out the initial symptoms of oral cancer, if any. We will also recommend the right treatment for your symptoms and your particular problem.
We are not only skilled dentists, but are also extremely empathetic. We treat each individual patient holistically and will patiently answer all your questions and concerns. So, if you want an oral cancer screening, or simply a regular check-up, do consult with Harbour Pointe for the best outcome possible!
For more information about oral cancer and other dental procedures and solutions, consult Dr. Brian Hart and Dr. Kathleen Isdith at 425-353-1009 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website https://www.harbourpointeoralsurgery.net for more information.